Niagara Gazette

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February 16, 2014

GLYNN: Texting and cell phone abuse take heavy toll

Niagara Gazette — It’s a familiar scene.

The woman in the supermarket checkout lane was on a cell phone, apparently calling someone about the groceries she was about to buy. No one in the line had a clue what could be so important to make a personal phone call while other customers waited. One irate man reminded the woman that it was inconsiderate to all the others in line.

The woman just ignored him. Finally, he added, “If you don’t know how to end that call, give me the phone and I’ll be glad to step on it.” A harsh solution, for sure, but a reminder how cell phone abuse extends far beyond the expressways and downtown traffic.

Even worse, of course, is the high risk cell phone abusers pose to motorists who abide by the rules of the road, always careful to proceed with caution and common sense. More than once a driver using the phone and distracted for a fleeting moment has been a major factor in a fatal crash. In fact, a recent study based on concrete data shows that drivers on cell phones are four times more likely to have a car accident.

I thought about that statistic recently when I waited at an intersection on Niagara Falls Boulevard for several motorists who had the advance green arrow to turn left. Two of the first three drivers seemed to be using their phones, probably telling someone that they just got the arrow.

One scene witnessed more than a year ago was a woman driver exiting from the Tops Market, Lewiston, smoking in the SUV with a child in a car seat, talking on her cell phone while attempting a left turn into Center Street, a violation that carries a fine and a mark on the license. 

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